Why do parents have such a difficult time to communicate openly and honestly with their teens? Why can’t teens just talk about whatever they need to with their parents? Why is there such a communication gap between parents and teenagers?
There are many reasons why teens and parents cannot communicate effectively. Most of the reasons stem from not being able to properly understand their teens. This can lead to a lot of problems in future when the teenager needs to talk to a parent and she can’t do so.
This points to a typical, albeit dangerous, gap between a parent’s experiences and attitudes and their teens. It is a dangerous gap because parents will have to communicate with their teens at some point during the most important and informative years of their lives.
Thus, parents must figure out how to communicate openly and honestly with their teens about a wide variety of issues, some of which may be personal and may make them feel vulnerable.
Here are a few tips to make communication easier between parents and teenagers.
1. Try not to talk down to your teens. Make them feel as if their views and opinions really count and that they matter. This will not only facilitate your discussions with your teen but bring your closer to him as well.
2. Imagine what it would be like to be a teen. Try to remember some of the negative feelings and uncertainties that you experienced as a teenager and apply it to your teen’s situation.
3. Be empathic about your teen’s predicament at all times. Never be condescending or make negative remarks to your teen about what she has said or done.
4. Remember how much courage it would have taken for your teen to come and talk to you about something that is very personal to him. Reward your teen by listening emphatically and respectfully.
5. Don’t ignore your teen’s feelings and emotions because it is usually a cry for help. For instance, if your teen is unusually angry or touchy, it may be time to spend a bit of quality time with your teen to determine what is wrong and where he is coming from.
It is, therefore, essential for parents to strive to keep lines of communication open at all times with their teens. Try to remember what it was like to be a teenager and how vulnerable you felt. Try to remember how uncertain you felt at all times. And try to remember how awful you felt when you were misunderstood by your own parents. Then you will be well on your way to help your teen to communicate more openly and honestly.